REVIEW: Te Waka Huia (The Basement)

July 6, 2018
[History Lesion] Excavating history for the purposes of storytelling is a tricky business; a balancing act between telling the truth while being respectful to the real people. The 1963 Brynderwyn bus accident is a particularly sensitive subject, being both from our shores and the not-so-distant past. Playwright (and supporting actor) Naomi Bartley cleverly sidesteps direct commentary on the accident by […]

REVIEW: Maumahara Girlie (The Basement)

July 6, 2018
[A Hopeful Encounter and a Question Mark] Maumahara Girlie is pitch-perfect Matariki programming: a young, wāhine-driven interdisciplinary work unfolding the matrix of what it means to be Māori, disconnected, urban and educated. It is a fiercely contemporary conversation, which should come as no surprise. Writer and first-time director Mya Morrison-Middleton (Kai Tahu) is a sardonic, critical and connected force in the art […]

REVIEW: Living Large with Marge (The Basement)

June 27, 2018
[Easy Living] There have been many strange and idiosyncratic characters to visit The Basement Studio. The latest occupant is the karaoke and sex-crazed septuagenarian, Marge. Written and performed by Hamish McGregor, Marge is a narcissist who loves to hold court and dish on her rise from sex-crazed groupie to… sex-crazed hairdresser. If you are a fan of eighties power ballads, and […]

REVIEW: The Contours of Heaven (The Basement)

June 23, 2018
[Listen] Without doubt this was one of the best performances I have ever seen. The Contours of Heaven is a one woman tour-de-force performed by Ana Chaya Scotney and produced by Zanetti Productions. Originally created for the 2017 Harcourt’s Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival, it went on to win Best Theatre and Best Performance in the Auckland Fringe Festival, and is […]

REVIEW: A Gambler’s Guide to Dying (The Basement)

June 15, 2018
[Winning Bet] Performed by John Burrows and directed by Jennifer Ward-Lealand, A Gambler’s Guide to Dying is a tribute to the powers of story-telling – to inflate, immortalise and inspire. Written by Gary McNair (who originally performed the solo himself at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival), A Gambler’s Guide to Dying tells the story of a young man and his […]

REVIEW: Precious Little (The Basement)

June 1, 2018
[Koko’s Legacy] Precious Little is a play about language. Written by American playwright Madeleine George and directed by Patricia Wichman for Navi Collaborative, it explores questions surrounding the ways language connects us, but also what other types of communication become necessary when words aren’t enough. When talented linguist Brodie (Jessi Williams) discovers her sperm donor pregnancy may be affected by […]

REVIEW: Pool (No Water) (The Basement)

May 24, 2018
[Unreliable Narrators] A successful artist invites her less accomplished and bitter “friends” for a reunion, resulting in a terrible accident involving the titular pool. Her newly comatose body then becomes the subject and object of the group’s newfound success. The result is a searing examination of exploitation and jealousy in the art world. British playwright Mark Ravenhill, most famous for […]

REVIEW: Donna Brookbanks: You Do You Babes (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 18, 2018
[Put Your Hands Up] Auckland seems to be teeming with strong female comedians this year. Donna Brookbanks is a prime example: not only funny, but incredibly multifaceted. Nominated for this year’s Billy T award, Brookbanks is back with her ‘sort of’ inspirational comedy show You Do You Babes. Brookbanks isn’t here to mess around; from the moment the doors open […]

REVIEW: Alice Snedden: Self Titled: Volume II (NZ International Comedy Festival)

May 17, 2018
[A Room of her Own] Billy T nominee Alice Snedden serves up a platter of anecdotes and observations that will have you in stitches. Loosely tied by the “problem” of her unflinching confidence, we are taken on a wild ride down memory lane, covering past and recent events that have made Snedden who she is today. Despite being unfamiliar with […]
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